Skills shortage leaves 4,500 vacancies
Ireland's chronic IT skills deficit has been laid bare by the latest audit, which reports 4,500 vacancies in the booming sector. It is a finding that throws the national unemployment rate of 13.7pc into sharp relief.
While salaries continue to be hit elsewhere, the IT industry is buoyant. Senior positions can command in excess of €100,000, while entry-level pay typically ranges from €30,000 to €70,000 depending on specific qualifications and experience.
The Government's Action Plan for Jobs 2013 initiative identifies IT as a "key focus area" and, according to Minister for Training and Skills Ciarán Cannon, work is under way to build "the pipeline of high-level ICT [information and communications technology] graduates".
Meanwhile, three groups of third-level institutions are seeking the new technological university (TU) ranking, which, it is hoped, will enhance the academic status of information technology and associated courses.
Education Minister Ruairí Quinn (left) has indicated that the Dublin-based alliance of DIT, IT Blanchardstown and IT Tallaght is a frontrunner for this designation.
Quinn has conceded that rapid evolution in the sector has not been met by suitably qualified graduates: "Technology is developing so quickly that the education system has been slow to focus on it."